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Resilience, Resolution, and Swimming Elephants

I resolved to write a blog on resilience and immediately ran into mental resistance. The previous sentence took thirty minutes to initiate primarily because I failed to follow my own advice. Let me explain.

Brian Tracy has a great audio tape entitled Resilience. He describes resiliency as the ability to bounce up from whatever knocks you. Like so many other traits, we all have some level of resiliency. The question is how to develop more of it?

Resiliency is critical to goal achievement and goal achievement is critical to having a fulfilling day. Imagine a day, week, month, or year in which you go through it without having any goals. Where’s the fulfillment in that scenario?

 Resistance is the price you have to pay for goals. In fact, the greater the goal, the more you should expect resistance.

Resistance reminds of me of triathlons. Sometimes resistance comes at you in a big obvious way like a cramp in the swim, a flat on the bike, or a hill at the start of a run.  Other times resistance is slow and depressing like a head wind, or extreme humidity. One requires a big burst of energy; the other, mental toughness and endurance.

The key to overcoming resistance is, of course, resolve. Resolve means to make a decision to do something. The key is not only what you do, or not do; the key is also who decides. Resolution means that you choose your actions and your responses to the resistance you will encounter.

Resilience and Resolution are skills that can be acquired. And the more you grow your resolution skills, the more resilient you become. Here are some ways to grow your resolution and in the process increase the buoyancy of your life.

1)      Expect resistance and prepare for it. After listing a goal, project, or activity, write down all the possible resistance you can imagine.

2)      Write out your responses to the resistance.  Your ability to handle resistance is usually based expectation more than the resistance itself. Think sucker punch vs. boxing.

3)      Face and Embrace It.  Any athlete knows resistance training is part of performance training. Having been tethered in a pool or pulling tubing to improve my golf swing, I’ve seen the value of resistance workouts. To recognize and attack your resistance puts you in the 20% that get 80% of the gain. As a friend told me years ago, “If you’ll do today what others won’t, you can spend tomorrow where others can’t. “

4)      Go lean. The resistance of hill running never bothered me because I knew th peak was a finite distance. Wind, on the other hand, represents invisible resistance and always kicked my mental butt. Finally I chose to not fight it but at the same time not aid it. I got lean in my running style, found a mentor to tuck in behind, and just learned to laugh at slower pace.

5)      Program your secret weapon.  Your mind is the ultimate secret weapon. Your subconscious and super conscious minds are goal seeking super computers that do whatever they are told. Most of us program our brains to both fear our true God-given potential and accept negative results as permanent. Your super computers will do whatever you program them to do.

Why not program these weapons for success? The most powerful and effective programming comes from your tongue. So why not speak what you want as if you have it and not what you have as if you want that? Why not speak positive affirmations, like “I embrace resistance and always overcome them as I achieve goals?” “I am a resistance busting, resilience bouncing, goal obtaining machine.” Or with a specific challenge, “When I get distracted, I always refocus on the task at hand.” Or “Setbacks always bring out the best in me.”

Just as you use resistance training to build up muscles and endurance, use these mental resistance exercises to build up your goal muscles and the endurance necessary to bounce up from anything life throws at you. And watch out for elephants at the start of your next triathlon.

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